Touring Santo

We have the boys to entertain, so we are doubly ambitious to get ashore and see what Santo has to offer.  We did a tour to a swimming hole back in Port Vila.  So we decide to do that here too.  Another good day.IMG_20180813_100332334_HDR-1Lukas swing

Now next time someone tells you to suck in your gut be aware that this action does unfortunate things to the expression on your face.  As illustrated below…IMG_20180813_102331381_HDR

And it would appear that the children have been a bad influence on Katharina.  She used to be so well behaved…IMG_20180813_102047242

Another day we took a tour to a village a bit inland from the coast.  There we would be hiking in the forest and treking through a cave that a river had carved into the hills.  We started in a van that took us up to altitude.  Then we hiked into the village.  IMG_20180812_101940718_HDR

Notice that the grass at their feet and the dirt yard are completely manicured.  In our travels in all of the south pacific this was the rule.  Well tended dwellings.

When we arrived we came upon a group of men that were rendering Kava root into a paste that could be used to make the Kava beverage.  They must use a different kind of Kava root in Vanuatu.  Or maybe a different process.  It has a greener flavor than Fiji or Tonga.IMG_20180812_164546323

Here the guys are working the root fibers through a meat grinder kind of device.  My mom had one of these and in her world it was for grinding meat to hamburger.IMG_20180812_164747057

Next you put the pulverized root in a sack and work that sack though the water to create perhaps a tea that tastes of the earth.  You drink it from a coconut shell that is passed around and leaves your tongue a bit numb.  Yer partying now mate!

Shortly after we arrive we are set up with a guide for the bush hike. 111 big tree.jpg

This takes us through the forest and down into a canyon.  Steep.  They had a network of ladders to make it all happen.

111 face paint.jpg

Then it was time for face painting to appease the gods while we traveled in their forest.111 ears.jpg

Sorry about the ears Lukas.  Some day I’ll grow up.  maybe.

111 river

The river runs through the cave it has created over the eons.  Notice someone disappearing into the cave upper right.  And what do caves have?  Bats.  Lots of them.  And what do bats do?  Yes they do do.  The rocks inside the cave are slick with it.  Lets just say you would not lean on those rocks twice.

111 cave light

In a couple places the roof of the cave opened and you got some light.  But mostly dark for sure.

More ladders and some ropes helped us through the cave,111 light

At last!  There was a Light!  Which got bigger.111 light 2

Looking back at our exit.111 exit

After lunch on the shore we headed back to the village.  Mostly walking down the river bed in waist high water.  222 riverIMG_20180812_175025373

These folks will sleep well tonight.

Looks like hiking is bad for my hair…222 hair

But before any sleeping its dinner time.  Join us in the cook house.  Where it is quite dark….222 banana.jpg

Our chefis using banana leaves make up the cooking enclosure.  And into that go roots and other veggies.  Then the whole thing is put on rocks heated with the fire.222 banana 2

While the cooking takes place there is time for some juggling.222 juggling

And then it is time to dine.222 presentation

Mosquito nets kept us comfortable, but I have to say that bugs were not a big problem in any case.  The next morning we hiked out to the van and found our way back to Spill The Wine.

Last detail was for Simon to finish his openwater diving certification.  Kat takes him off to the divemasters and he passes nicely.  Congratulations Simon!  Simon and Lukas both got to swim with turtles.11 asimon

11 alukas

Guests come and guests go.  It is time for Kat to pack up the siblings, take them to Sydney, and put them on a plane to Germany.  They will never be the same.  Neither will I…  🙂

222 brothers.jpg

Wait until their parents get a load of their cool tattoos!!222 tattoos.jpg




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